Tag: Ethics

Chinese Scientists Want to Give Monkeys Human Brains

Rafael Augusto B.L. De Oliveira | @ancient_scrolls

Largely due to our intelligence, the human race was able to quickly become the ruler of planet Earth. But what if another race soon becomes as smart as us? Will our rule of the Earth be under threat?

Movie franchises like The Matrix and Planet of The Apes explore this possibility. In the first, humanity creates robots so smart that they are able to enslave us inside a simulated reality. In the latter, humans travel to a planet where apes became smarter than us and use their intelligence to rule. But now, Chinese scientists hope to bring an element of this fantasy into reality.

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Ayn Rand is the Real Cool Kid’s Philosopher

Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

In late 2017, there was an article published on currentaffairs.org referring to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro as “The Cool Kid’s Philosopher.” The article goes on to quote a New York Times piece crediting him with “dissecting arguments with a lawyer’s skill and references to Aristotle.” Is Shapiro the best we can get when it comes to logic based-philosophy? The short answer is no, but the question of who the true “Cool Kid’s Philosopher” is remains.

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Supreme Court to Solve Free Speech v. Private Corporation Debate

By Mason Mohon | United States

Brett Kavanaugh’s turbulent entrance into the Supreme Court will first be met with a potentially groundbreaking free speech case. The case is that of Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702. As CNBC reports, this case centers around whether a private operator of a public access television network is considered a state actor, which would leave it accountable to the free speech protections in the First Amendment.

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America Focuses On All The Wrong Problems

By Ian Brzeski | United States

Around the world, horrendous atrocities keep happening and people keep turning a blind eye. We focus on the little problems rather than the larger grand scheme of things.

Life in the Unites States is not as bad as it could be. Our problems are far less problematic than those throughout the world. The average low-income American is far better off than King Louis XIV and John Rockefeller ever were. Humanity has progressed tremendously in recent times, yet we still have the audacity to complain about every little thing. We complain about problems that don’t even carry weight compared to other problems such as how:

For God’s sake, there are more pressing concerns than the ones I just listed. People around the globe are dying at the hands of the United States government. Just the other day a Saudi led airstrike, backed by the United States, killed dozens of Yemeni children on a school bus. The airstrike killed kids on their way to school without any warning. This is utterly detestable. Where is the outrage?

People are quick to work themselves up if Trump says something controversial. But how come when the United States backed Saudi government bombs innocent civilians and children in Yemen you barely hear about it? Don’t even say that the death of these children is a result of collateral damage. We should never consider human lives as collateral damage. I’m not saying that the concerns I listed aren’t problematic, but when comparing the problem of the murder of innocent children to the to the “problem” of income inequality in the workforce it’s clear which one should take preference over the other.

When I turn on the news all that anybody can talk about is Donald Trump. It’s either how Trump is awful because of racism or the greatest because our economy is booming. Nobody ever talks about how he’s currently the head of a government that is supporting Saudi Arabia who is practically committing a genocide against Yemen. The United States along with the U.K. is in a coalition with Saudi Arabia which provides them with weapons, fuel, and other forms of support so they can continue to terrorize Yemen.

This is sickening and nobody is doing anything about it. People would rather smear Trump for racist or sexist comments. Give me a break. How is getting Trump impeached for being subjectively a bad person and for kissing up to Putin more important than the human rights violations happening in Yemen? How is any of that more important than the thousands upon thousands of bombs we drop in the Middle East per year, killing loads of innocent lives? I’m sick of people disliking Trump for all of the wrong reasons.

The strategy of “bombing the shit” out of countries is not unique to Trump and it dates back to Harry Truman who is mainly remembered for dropping atomic bombs on Japan, injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Republicans and Democrats have consistently been dropping bombs in other countries since World War II and people aren’t realizing that it happens under both parties. Obama dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016 and has bombed the most countries since World War II. Trump has also been dropping bombs at unprecedented levels. Having a booming economy is never an excuse for these mass murders ever taking place. All of this is absolutely monstrous and it doesn’t seem that people care at all. We keep electing these mass murderers.

People need to wake up and realize that the mainstream politicians simply don’t care. All the recent presidents have been puppets to the establishment and the track record shows.  If people were half as outraged with the establishment and their wrongdoings as they are with their other minuscule problems, maybe we can stop these massacres from taking place.

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Part I – Humans and Animals: Defining Moral, Ethic, and Humane

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

This will be the first essay in a short series of distinguishing terms, i.e. ‘moral,’ ‘ethic,’ and ‘Justice.’ I shall defend using animals for human consumption, the current popular problems of big game hunting, and a possible solution to the issues giving as close to a win-win as possible throughout this short series. Overall, the running theme will contend that humans are not “equal” to other species of animals, especially not under the law.

When it comes to the topic of animals and animal abuse, people can have extremely polarizing reactions. Commercials with images of abused and emaciated puppies serenaded by Sarah McLachlan bring tears to some people. Campaigns by PETA can lead people to change their diets and normal shopping habits. Vegetarians have become the retro, and now veganism has the “moral” high ground; especially if they also only by GMO-free, certified organic, gluten-free, fair trade, locally grown, fresh, raw, fruits and vegetables. The common theme is that they believe it is ‘immoral’ to use animals as means for food, clothing, materials, oils, etc.

They contend that harming animals, in any way, should be equal under the law to that of hurting fellow human beings. If they are not as extreme as to believe there should be legal limitations of using or abusing animals, they typically feel it is an immoral act to do so. The rarer group consists of those that just choose to be vegetarian or vegan solely for “health purposes.” I shall not pick on those that peacefully choose to have a vegetarian diet or those that peacefully choose a vegan lifestyle. Rather, I am concerned with the growing number of people, e.g. vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights activists, who feel it prudent to coerce others or condemn others based on false premises, and wish to use the coercive power of government to force people into their ideology of equating humans to other animals.

It is imperative to first define morality,’ or what it means to be ‘moral.’ It can be defined as of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior, and it is directly from the Latin word ‘moralis,’ meaning proper behavior of an individual within a society. The Greek ‘ethikos,’ i.e. ‘ethics’ in English, is associated with mores, customs, manners, etc. So, to be ‘moral’ is only between people in their relationships with other people, and ‘ethics’ are the codes of moral conduct held by a society or group.

For example, it is ‘immoral’ to murder a fellow human as it is an infringement on someone else, and this is an ‘ethical’ position held in Christianity since it is the Christian code of moral conduct. As it pertains to morality, most people hold certain morals to be true nearly universally such as people should not murder, rape, steal, etc. under most circumstances. However, there are also some morals that more and more people will not agree are wrong such as lying, gluttony, cheating, lusting, etc. under many circumstances.

Therefore, it is best for this article to not only have defined ‘morality’ and ‘ethics,’ but to stick to the ethical considerations of the legality of using animals for consumption. That will at least make for less debate over ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ ‘morality’ which is a much deeper philosophical topic of discussion. Nevertheless, moral laws do not make moral people, and any laws based on ethical claims can have possible backlash, such as Christian ethics proclaiming homosexuality or premarital sex to be illegal, or anti-marijuana laws because it makes people feel an elevated sense of pleasure. These ethics based laws infringe on the rights of the individual to freely act and exchange with others through voluntary and mutual agreement. To not allow people the freedom to act humanely between one another is, in fact, inhumane.

Many people that love animals will declare certain actions done to animals are “inhumane.” To be ‘inhumane’ means to be without compassion for misery or suffering; however, as the Latin of the word suggests ‘in’ is the ‘opposite of’ being ‘human.’ The word suggests that it is to be savage, cruel, barbarous, etc. As, we, humans have evolved over the past 200,000 years, we have utilized animals for the sake of our survival and benefit.

We have used them for food, clothing, oils, tools, testing for pharmaceutical drugs and learning about ourselves through them, as working animals, and as pets; we have also studied their behaviors and learned from them. According to Aristotle, humans are a ‘rational animal.’ We utilize what is around us to survive, benefit, flourish, and prosper, to a much greater extent than any other animal. So, if a person is using animals for these purposes, and not simply abusing an animal out of anger, they are not acting ‘inhumanely,’ rather they are acting very ‘humanely,’ as they benefit themselves and likely other humans.

Consequentially, humans using animals for the aforementioned purposes, aside from abuse, can also benefit other animals who require meat for sustenance and medicine made from animals. This suggests that if people were not to use some animals for consumption and use, what currently exists would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to sustain. Some of our beloved pets would suffer and die so some vegetarians may be willing to use some animals in order to save more animals and people.

‘Animal abuse’ is a vague and subjective term, usually referring to ‘animal cruelty’ or ‘neglect.’ What is determined to be ‘cruel’ or ‘neglectful’ can vary depending on the laws of that area, but typically it means to not feed, let to wallow in the animal’s waste, not have enough space to move, to beat the animal, to torture, left without proper shelter, etc. According to Seventeenth Century philosopher, Samuel von Pufendorf, animals do not have intrinsic rights, but we should not abuse them out of anger because of what it does to the human, not the animal.

His idea is that by hitting a dog, for example, out of sheer anger makes the person hitting the dog more callous to other people and to themselves. In fact, modern science has suggested that when people habitually act out of anger by harming animals, things, fellow humans, or themselves, they are wiring their brain to continue to do the same. Even more terrifying are the cases where people first began torturing and killing animals for the thrill before moving on to human victims, becoming serial killers, although that is not necessarily true as it is correlation and not causation, and there are also a number of mass murderers who were vegetarian or vegan.

In both of these examples of anger and torture, these actions are not increasing utility, they are instead becoming a hindrance for the person’s growth and reason. Viz., utilizing animals for consumption and mere abuse out of anger are not equal to one another as it pertains to humankind.

The next essay will detail the meaning of ‘Justice,’ and what it is not.

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